Sunday, May 25, 2014

El Shaddai & Gender

A couple weeks ago, I posted here about my transformation after learning of God's use of feminine language to describe God's self. I mentioned as a side note a possible translation of God's name, El Shaddai, as "the breasted one." Now, I've got the goods on that, for those of you who like good resources (I know I do).

Reading Rachel Held Evans' Sunday Superlatives (a great source of quality posts and endless new blogs to follow... le sigh), I saw this amazing piece by Susan Pigot titled "El Shaddai and the Gender of God." Susan takes a scholarly approach into the original Hebrew to contextually and linguistically reveal the meaning of "the breasted one."

So often, we live limited lives. More abominably, we enforce limitations on others' lives. In my experience, the use of purely masculine language to discuss God, and the priority placed on male leadership, cut my sex, my story, and my talents out of the narrative. I felt I was left holding a bag with potential that could never be realized.

Now, this language resonates more than ever. I already tore down the walls keeping me from living my whole, gendered life and capacity. But as a mother, I live the power of this imagery every time I breastfeed my daughter.

This name of God weaves with the other names of God. I don't want to take it out of context and prioritize it above the others. When we elevate it INTO context we see how God teaches us about God, how we consequently learn about ourselves, and paradoxically, how that in turn teaches us more about God.

If I ever I think of a pithy title for this cycle, I'll feel like a true wordsmith. Anyone ever heard of one?

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